This Kind of Thinking Could Do Us In

Arrowverse 2021 Season: Week 35

Well, this week had a few twists and turns I didn't quite expect, but overall the last show standing in this season of the ArrowverseWhen it was announced that the CW was creating a show based on the Green Arrow, people laughed. The CW? Really? Was it going to be teen-oriented like everything else on the network and be called "Arrow High"? And yet that one show, Arrow has spawned three spin-offs, various related shows and given DC a successful shared universe, the Arrowverse on TV and streaming., Supergirl, didn't stray far from its formula one bit. You know, just like ever already assumed. Oh well...

So let's get to it and see where the Girl of Steel goes this week:

Supergirl, Season 6, Episode 14: Magical Thinking

Last week Kara and her team fought Nyxlie to stop the 5th dimensional imp from getting the Courage totem. They failed. This week they had to stop Nyxlie from getting the humanity totem... and they failed again. Not to worry, though, as unlike with the Courage totem where the "gauntlet" to gain its power all happened in a dream, this time using the totem means you have to suffer the gauntlet in real time, and that means suddenly having a big ol' dose of humanity dumped into you.

I supposed that last week Nyxlie was going to slowly gain all these totems and learn to be a bigger person as she had break through after break through. The show defied that expectation this week by having Nyxlie "suffer" the effects of all that humanity and then rejecting it, throwing the totem away so that Kara could grab it instead. That's an interesting beat, even if the show is just going to have Nyxlie show up and steal it back a few weeks from now (in the Arrowverse the villain always gets exactly what they want only for the hero to "level up" and find a way to defeat them after).

It does make Nyxlie shallower, though. She openly rejects the humanity instead of learning from it and becoming a richer, deeper character. As the show has grown Nyxlie and made her confront her own demons it made the character better; rejecting the humanity puts the totem back in Team Supergirl's hands, yes, but it does nothing for Nyxlie's character and that's a little sad. I liked the idea that the villain reformed themself as they gained each totem and learned, one way or another, to be a better person. This feels like a regression for the character which doesn't work as well.

Meanwhile we're also getting a very set formula for the troubles of the week. Nyxlie gets a totem, unleashes blue energy tied to that totem's power (Courage and Humanity so far, with Dreams to come next week), and then the local area suffers a massive riot that the rest of Team Supergirl has to quell while Kara puts everything right. Once was fine, twice is starting to wear thin, and I'm expecting we'll see this dynamic play out again, and again, for the next five weeks as well.

Over in the B-plot, ace reporter (realizes he's forgettable and has to look up the character's name) William is assigned to the "Superfriends" beat (ugh, every time they call the heroes the "Superfriends" I cringe) so he can cover their stories. There's a discussion on writer's integrity and honesty in the media, but it's a storyline that is absolutely rushed and comes out as very ham-fisted when it plays across a single episode. This is a story that was actually worth covering (with shades of the Social Justice PSA Week we had with Guardian) but the shows rushes it and, once again, makes it feel more like a lecture than plot line.

And so this is where I go, once again: the show manages to have some good ideas, and it tries to tell a story that connects to Supergirl, but it doesn't seem to have the skill to tell political stories, or even handle the super-heroics anymore. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Elsewhere in the 'Verse

  • Stargirl spent two weeks ago causing fear to Wildcat II, and then last week it did the same thing with Hourman II and Doc Midnight II. This week it pulls the same trick on Stargirl's own family, forcing Pat to relive a past indiscretion. That event was when he stood aside and let the JSA kill the previous host for Eclypso, effectively putting blood on his hands. I don't know if I really buy that argument, but it does cause friction with Courtney and could weaken her own emotional protections from Eclypso. Still, this episode did feel like more of the same and ends up being weaker than it could have been just because we've seen this basic storyline for three weeks now. It's time to move on, Stargirl, and let the plot evolve.
  • Titans had the various superheros wandering around the city blindly, acting dumb and getting themselves into trouble. Wondergirl gets into the city and... doesn't do much. Starfire loses her powers, gets new powers and... doesn't do much. Dick goes to confront Jason and ends up getting shot. These are get decision-makers all around, people. Ugh.
  • Doom Patrol also delivered a mediocre episode. The series likes to take big swings at being weird, and this time it has them confront the Sisterhood of Dada. What this really entails, though, is all of them meeting random members of the sisterhood in a mind altering fog and having meaningless conversations that send them all right back to where they were at the start of the episode. It's a plate-spinning story that does nothing and moves the show forward not a single inch.